The $54.5 million total cost comes from three sources: bonds, special bonds (lottery revenue that allows the university to build projects for less by providing only 20 percent of the cost, with the remaining 80 percent from the state lottery) and $20 mill
Students in the Del. E Webb School of Construction at Arizona State University in Tempe have a rare opportunity to participate in building their own facility.
Just north of the campus, Tempe-based Okland Construction Co. Inc. is overseeing construction of a five-story, 137,000 sq. ft. mixed-use building that will house the Del Webb School and a retail and food service component known as the Sun Devil Marketplace, plus a 200-seat auditorium for use during campus tours. The “one-off” marketplace on the first and second floors features more than just books; it will include high-end finishes.
About six interns have had the opportunity for hands-on participation, but the entire project will continue to be used as a teaching tool, said Tim Goyette, senior project manager of Okland. “Elements of the construction were modeled in 3-D, so students can look inside the walls and ceilings to see how the building was constructed. The idea behind it is to let the model live on into the future.”
All the superintendents and team members are ASU graduates, he added.
“The building is a didactic tool,” said Art Lara, project manager, ASU. “Many spaces are left exposed so students can see the guts, or spline — the systems used to build the mechanical, structural and electrical systems. It will be used as part of class instruction.”
The reason for the expansion of ASU’s campus is increased enrollment, growth in the Del Webb programs and the need for a “campus front door,” according to Lara.
“Enrollment has been going up for 30 years, but in the last 10, it’s grown by 20,000 students,” he said.
ASU enrollment is at 62,000 students in Tempe, or more than 76,000 in total. Consequently, there’s a premium on space, he said.
But ASU isn’t merely growing; it’s reaching out to the city.
“One of the goals of the university is to become more embedded in the city, to integrate with the community,” Lara said.
The building is a joint effort with the city of Tempe in permitting and construction, Goyette said.
“The first two floors — the Sun Devil marketplace and the retail component — are in Tempe’s jurisdiction for permitting; the rest of the building went through the normal permitting process and review.”
The multi-purpose building has space that can be used for a variety of events. Predominantly, it will be used as a “high-profile space to welcome people to ASU,” Lara said. “The student tours program needed a new space. They wanted a high-profile space.”
The Del Webb program, which was situated in several spaces in multiple buildings, needed a consolidated location. Both problems will be solved with the new building.
“This building is driven by the construction school, tours and the Sun Devil Marketplace,” said Lara.
According to the Phoenix Business Journal, Tempe’s Mayor Mark Mitchell considers the project the first of “many new steps between a partnership with the city of Tempe and Arizona State.” Future steps include adding more buildings to the plot of land on College Ave. known as Block 12.
“As the development of this area continues, ASU plans to make part of College Ave. closed off to vehicles for concerts and other events.”
The $54.5 million total cost comes from three sources: bonds, special bonds (lottery revenue that allows the university to build projects for less by providing only 20 percent of the cost, with the remaining 80 percent from the state lottery) and $20 million in gifts and local funds.
Construction began in February 2013, and is expected to be complete by May 2014. The 18-month schedule is fast-tracked to allow ASU to occupy the new building in July to prepare for classes, which start in August.
It’s a tight schedule for this type of building, said Goyette: a complex, multi-tenant structure with a labyrinth of conduit. Fortunately, Arizona poses few weather-related delays.
“The architect designed it for multiple front doors,” Goyette continued. The auditorium looks like a separate space, so does the market place. The construction school on the top three floors has a large, cascading exterior stairway.
Each area has a separate identity, Lara added. No student has to meander through one area to reach a different destination. More importantly, he views the design as a “new front door to the campus” intended to positively influence prospective students as they make their decision about which college to attend.
Intended to impress, the main building is a concrete structure, with an “appendage” that pops out on the north — the tours building, a steel building with a composite concrete top. “The types of construction are diverse,” Goyette said, “and use a multitude of material types and systems.”
Materials used include:
• Concrete — 11,532 cu. yds. (8,817 cu m)
“Suntech built a unique frame,” Goyette said. “A blend of post-tension and mildly reinforced structural system.”
Post-tension was incorporated in the shorter-dimension areas; mildly reinforced with rebar was used for flexibility in future expansion because holes can be drilled in it. Okland self-performed all architectural concrete to allow for better quality control, while still taking advantage of subcontractor pricing on the concrete frame.
• Rebar and post-tension cables — 680 tons (617 t)
• Composite metal decking — 13,000 sq. ft. (1,208 sq m)
• Cold-formed structural steel — 370 tons (335.6 t)
• Building skin components — 15,000 sq. ft. (1,393 sq m)
• Arizona sandstone with a milled finish for a terra cotta look, and a cleft finish for a rough, just-cut look, mixed on lower two story veneer
• Aluminum metal panels — 61,000 sq. ft. (5,667 sq m) — to avoid rust, for longer life: this is a 50-year building
• Exterior glazing system — 25,000 sq. ft. (2,322 sq m)
• Façade for shade, 8 ft. (2.4 m) off the building: 10,000 sq. ft. (929 sq m). The south elevation is double-skinned.
Spray foam was used in the interior cavity for a vapor barrier and added R value.
“It’s not done a lot in Arizona,” Goyette said.
Because ASU was required to bid out the work, he said it was hard to get contractors to spray the interior wall cavities. In the end, ASU negotiated the spray foam into Kovach’s contract.
They’re targeting LEED Gold status on the project, Goyette said.
“ASU is on the cutting-edge of sustainability, with lots of solar power and other sustainable projects.”
A sustainable design feature being added that meets the new energy code is the application of Thermax insulation from Dow Corning installed on the outside of the studs/frame.
Goyette carefully tracks all materials, approvals and sources.
“A lot of manufacturers don’t have stuff on the shelf,” Goyette said. Materials are often manufactured just for a specific project, which adds to the lead time.
Using a six to eight week look-ahead helps plan in advance, he continued. Most contractors use only a two to three week look-ahead, but he and Lara believe it doesn’t leave enough time to order materials.
“By the time you get materials, you’re already in week two,” Lara said.
Working so far ahead expedites material delivery.
“You have to be able to feed the monster,” said Goyette.
As the Construction Manager at Risk, Okland is responsible for managing the many sub-contractors who play a significant role on the project. Goyette said Okland does all scheduling onsite, using its own proprietary system and P6 Primavera.
“Every superintendent is trained in P6 Primavera, and updates and builds their schedule. Our onsite teams own it.”
• TDI Industries — mechanical and plumbing
• Kearney Electric — electrical and IT infrastructure cabling “They’ve done a lot of work at ASU,” Goyette said.
• Kovach — metal skin and glazing — “One contractor doing the entire building envelope means one warranty,” Goyette said.
• MKB — framing and drywall — the only union contractor on the project
• Schuff Steel Management Co. — all steel work. The building is a hybrid structural mix of steel and concrete.
• Progressive Roofing —roofing
• Suntech — concrete
• Beecroft — utility excavator
Equipped for the Job
Typical equipment on the job site includes a tower crane for the concrete frame and roller track cranes for other work. Boom lifts and swing stages were used to place the metal panels.
While a lot of projects use caissons for footings, Goyette said Okland “had an option to get away from that.” Caissons are very expensive — and time-consuming. Crews can drill only 6 to 10 a day.
Okland used conventional spread footings and continuous footings, filled with lean concrete between reinforced footings. It saved time and money because it required less prep time.
“We did 30 spot footings,” Goyette said.
Not so easy was the plan to supply chilled water. The building takes up the entire footprint of the site — a former parking lot and field — but, while the site is adjacent to campus, it is a recent acquisition, so ASU doesn’t own the streets around the site.
“ASU owns the property, but Tempe has the right of way for the streets,” Goyette said.
Cooling is a primary issue in Arizona. ASU has a central plant for chilled water, but Okland had to determine if it was cheaper to build another plant on the new site or run chilled water pipes from ASU — and the decision had to be made early in the project.
They determined that there was a very long, if any, payback with an onsite plant. However, the 15-year payback to connect to the ASU central plant carried a huge risk.
“We had to determine if it was worth it to run ½ mile of 18-in. steel piping through century-old infrastructure and city right-of-way,” Goyette recalled.
As they did with the building, they modeled the system in 3-D, planning the routing vertically and horizontally as it would integrate into the utilities. The more they studied the routing, the more they were able to minimize the risk. Work was scheduled to take place between semesters — late July/mid-August.
In May they were informed that they needed to sleeve the piping across the city’s ROW.
“It was a surprise,” Goyette said — an expensive surprise, costing $25,000 and adding complications. Now the trench would need to be wider (3-4’) and sloped, per the city’s request.
The city agreed to close the road for two weeks, but all the work had to be done in that time frame, reducing the schedule for the street crossing phase by five weeks. Crews trenched in 20 ft. (6.1 m) increments as work progressed. In a small onsite staging area, crews welded 120 ft. (36.6 m) of pipe together, X-raying the welds as a safety precaution.
“We used special rigging to hoist the 120-foot pipe to keep it from flexing,” Goyette said. “They picked it with the crane and placed the whole pipe in one piece.”
That milestone behind them, he said they are currently in the finishing stages: hanging and texturizing drywall; painting, grinding floors, hanging doors and measuring millwork. With the project on schedule, students should enjoy the new facility in August.
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